Volunteer Spotlight: Whitney Place


Whitney_Thumbnail306 Q. What is your favorite experience as an Alumni Association leader/volunteer?

My favorite and most rewarding experiences through Alumni Association activities are my interactions with students. The CFANS Mentor Program and the CFANS Policy Engagement Program are both opportunities for me to get to know the really impressive people we have on campus. The Mentor Program has allowed me to develop a close connection with individual students, many with whom I now get to work. It has been wonderful to watch the paths of students as they advance in their careers. The CFANS Policy Engagement Program is a forum started by alumni that brings students interested in natural resources, agricultural, and environmental issues with policy leaders in Minnesota. We meet for eight sessions throughout the school year to learn about public policy. Each year I get to know a new cohort of students and now we have a strong network of students and alumni interested in and working on policies pertaining to CFANS issue areas. We even have a student who is running for office this year! These interactions with students have been inspiring and have made the volunteer experience very worthwhile.

Q. Why do you volunteer?

Volunteering with the Alumni Association has allowed me to give back to the institution that has given me so much. My CFANS mentor is the reason I have the career I have today. I used scholarships raised from the CFANS Alumni Society to attend college. And I have utilized the University of Minnesota network to further my professional and personal contacts. Giving back is the right thing to do, and it is something I truly enjoy.

Q. Why would you encourage others to volunteer?

Volunteering is a fantastic way to stay connected to the University. Through my volunteer work I have a good idea about what is happening on campus and what matters to students. I have a front row seat to really important decisions being made like changes in University leadership or initiatives happening at my college. There are a lot of good reasons to volunteer, but volunteering is how I stay connected to the University and college that I love.

Q. Share some alumni words of wisdom.

The best advice I can give to someone who wants to be involved with the Alumni Association is to just dive in! There are so many opportunities for you to engage. If you want to work with students you could get involved by advising a student group or by joining a mentor program. If you want to engage with other alumni you could help organize an event. If you see a gap in alumni programming you’d like to fill, reach out to your college alumni society or the Alumni Association. There is more than enough room to bring your ideas for the Alumni Association to life.


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